How closely do you look at your cellphone bill?
WBAL reports: A Cockeysville couple now looks very closely at theirs after finding that they were charged a tax for years that they didn't owe.
Matthew Barrett and his wife, Kendra, noticed in January that their Verizon cellphone bill was suddenly $4 cheaper.
They thought that was great, but they wanted to know why it was cheaper, so the Cockeysville residents compared that bill to previous ones and discovered that the $4 difference was a city cellphone tax -- a tax they had been paying even though they moved out of the city three and a half years ago.
Barrett said he wants that money back.
"It's about $168 for the $4 charge since we moved out of the city," he said.
The couple was owed money, but at least their bill was finally correct -- that was until four months later, when the city cellphone tax mysteriously reappeared.
"The bill was correct from January to April of this year. My wife changed her name on the account because we just got married, and now it's back," Barrett said.
The couple has gone around and around with Verizon customer service and said no one could explain what was happening with their bill or reimburse them.
"We've just been going back and forth in a circle, and it's like, where do we go? The city says I need to go to Verizon. Verizon says I need to go to Baltimore City, and no one even wants to pay back the taxes. In the grand scheme of things, to me, $168 is a nice chunk of change that we overpaid, but to Verizon, it's nothing," Barrett said.
The Barretts contacted the 11 News I-Team. After I-Team reporter Mindy Basara inquired about the issues with the couple's bill, the Barretts were reimbursed the $168.
A Verizon representative got to the bottom of the problem, and it turned out it was simple. The representative said that when a person changes his or her billing address online, he or she must also change their service address and primary place of use, or PPU.
The representative said that by updating both the billing addresses and the PPU addresses online at Verizon.com, customers can ensure that their bills will accurately reflect the local fees associated with their new place of residence. The representative advised that customers make those changes just prior to moving.
The Barretts said that they're wondering if other former city residents are having the same problem.
"With the amount of people that move between the city and the county, I'm sure it's got to happen," Barrett said.
It's unclear how the tax mysteriously reappeared after Kendra Barrett's name change.